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By Wesley Case | November 29, 2011
How did Mac Miller do it? It seems improbable, but the party-all-the-time Jewish rapper from Pittsburgh found himself at the top of the Billboard 200 on Nov. 16, without a radio hit, and more important, without a major-label machine there to take the credit. Miller, 19, sold 144,000 copies of his debut album, "Blue Slide Park," making him the first independent artist to claim the top spot since 1995. He's not a protege of a superstar, nor have any of "Blue Slide Park's" songs charted.
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By Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | July 16, 2014
"Can I crash on the couch for the weekend / I broke lease and I get no sleep 'cause I'm in too deep," raps the Columbia native Dunson on his new single, "Broke Ass Dope Ass Rapper. " You can watch the video above. The track - which finds Dunson rapping about the struggles to make it in the music industry - was produced by the MC and his frequent collaborators the Phatboiz. It will be featured on his forthcoming release, "Outlier" (due in September). I featured Dunson, a former Baltimore financial advisor, in my 2012 feature on city rappers on the rise . Since then, he's been featured on a single by R&B singer Chrisette Michele ( "Can the Cool Be Loved?"
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Luke Broadwater | June 8, 2011
Influential Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco recently had some harsh words for President Barack Obama, which is no surprise for anyone who follows his music. Lupe's been critical of Obama in the past, but he took it a step further when he called Obama "the biggest terrorist" in America in an interview with CBS News.  “In my fight against terrorism, to me, the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America," he said. "For me, I’m trying to fight the terrorism that’s actually causing the other forms of terrorism.
NEWS
By Doug Donovan, The Baltimore Sun | June 7, 2014
Most political endorsements touted by candidates typically elicit yawns. Until they garner gasps. Del. Jon Cardin, a Democratic candidate for Maryland attorney general, rejected an impromptu endorsement he landed last week from a rapper with a rap sheet. At a fundraiser, Cardin posed for a photo with Ski Money — aka Lawrence S. Christian — without knowing of the 37-year-old's criminal record. The rapper posted the photo to Instagram and Twitter with a note encouraging his followers to vote for Cardin.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case, b | August 2, 2011
Rome Cee is counting in German. “Eins, zwei, drei, vier …” It's an oppressively humid July afternoon and the 29-year-old rapper, born Jerome Carrington Jr., is dressed in black and gray, sipping a hot cup of coffee in a Fells Point shop. In between sips, the former military brat recalls buying schnitzel in Kaiserslautern, Germany “like it was yesterday.” But when Rome was 8, his father left the Marines and moved the family back to his hometown of West Baltimore. The transition wasn't easy on Rome.
NEWS
By Olivia Ignacio | May 22, 2012
The search for America's next greatest talent continues in New York.  First up is The Flyte Cru, who I guess you could call basketball stunts-men. They use trampolines to do all sorts of somersaults as they shoot hoops. Their act is pretty entertaining, but I feel like I've seen it before, so I'm not very impressed. Judge Howie Mandel thinks the same thing and gives them a “no.” New judge Howard Stern has been surprisingly kind this season; he continues that streak and says he wants to see Flyte Cru move on to next round.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case | March 11, 2011
This piece was featured in b's "10 People to Watch Under 30" weekend edition. Check out the rest of the class of 2011 here . "Don't care about your top five/Either you like my songs or don't, for real," Greenspan raps on his aptly titled track "Cold. " The Baltimore-born rapper, born Brian Dawkins, stays in his own lane. While other rappers put their hopes on mixtape remixes of already popular songs, Greenspan -- who cites AZ's Doe or Die as the album that made him want to rap -- prefers doing shows with a live band.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | March 19, 2013
Late last winter, Baltimore rapper Test (formerly known as TestMe) signed a deal with Future's FreeBandz Entertainment. Yesterday, he released his first project of original material as a FreeBandz member: "Green Light," which you can download for free here (contains explicit language). (Test released "Jackin 4 Beats" with DJ Big L late last year, but it was him rhyming over already-popular tracks.) Test appeared on the popular FreeBandz compilation mixtape, "F.B.G.: The Movie," from January.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | January 5, 2012
The chances of Los - a Baltimore rapper once signed to and quietly dropped from Diddy's Bad Boy Records - being named one of XXL's 2012 Freshmen aren't good. Like most of the hip-hop-only magazines on stands, XXL's clout in rap-circles has diminished greatly over the years. Yet somehow, its annual issue of up-and-comers generates heated debates online, and thus, we still care when Baltimore rappers are included. (Congrats, also, to Mullyman, the only other Baltimore MC included on the ballot.)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2014
Derrick "OOH" Jones, aka Yo Slick and member of the influential Baltimore rap group Brown F.I.S.H., died Sunday. He was 38. Al Shipley's obituary in City Paper , which first reported Jones' death (cause of death has not yet been released), is essential reading to understand Jones' impact on Baltimore. Jones was an excellent rapper and live performer, but his reach extended well beyond hip-hop fans. He was a teacher at Gilmor Elementary and the director of the Baltimore Youth Advocate Program.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2014
State Sen. Brian Frosh questioned Baltimore County Del. Jon Cardin's fitness to be attorney general Friday, citing the endorsement of his Democratic primary rival by a local rapper facing human-trafficking charges. "At least one of my opponents lacks the rudimentary judgment required for holding the office of attorney general," Frosh told The Baltimore Sun's editorial board during a previously scheduled meeting. "Can you imagine the attorney general of Maryland putting his arm around a guy and saying, 'I'm proud to have his endorsement,' not knowing this person has just been charged with 22 counts of human trafficking and prostitution, facing 190 years in jail?"
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2014
Derrick "OOH" Jones, aka Yo Slick and member of the influential Baltimore rap group Brown F.I.S.H., died Sunday. He was 38. Al Shipley's obituary in City Paper , which first reported Jones' death (cause of death has not yet been released), is essential reading to understand Jones' impact on Baltimore. Jones was an excellent rapper and live performer, but his reach extended well beyond hip-hop fans. He was a teacher at Gilmor Elementary and the director of the Baltimore Youth Advocate Program.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater and Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun | June 5, 2014
Del. Jon Cardin rejected Thursday the endorsement of a Baltimore-based rapper after learning that the man who calls himself Ski Money is facing charges of human trafficking. Cardin, a candidate for attorney general, said he knew nothing of the rapper's charges and criminal record when he posed for a picture with Lawrence S. Christian, 37, at a fundraiser and his campaign briefly publicized the rapper's support. "I recently learned of the charges that are pending against Mr. Christian, a Baltimore based rapper who endorsed me over Twitter," Cardin, a Baltimore County Democrat, said in a statement.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | January 23, 2014
In hip-hop, momentum matters. After the success of 2012's "The Yellow Album," Los Angeles rapper Dom Kennedy knew he had captured more ears than ever before. But the 29-year-old born Dominic Hunn refused to consider his next album, last October's "Get Home Safely," his only shot at next-level stardom. "Everything is not dependent on this project or that project. It's all an evolution of growing as a person," Kennedy said on the phone from downtown Los Angeles last week. "My mindset going into 'Get Home Safely' was making a project that I could be happy with for the rest of my life and something that will test the time.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | December 11, 2013
Last year, Lupe Fiasco found himself in the middle of a hot-button debate in hip-hop. His single at the time, "Bitch Bad," explicitly confronted the culture's knotty issues with misogyny, language and gender roles. The chorus begins with the song's title, but finishes with Fiasco adding, "'Woman' good, 'Lady' better. " The 31-year-old Chicago rapper thought he was initiating a healthy conversation, but some felt the rapper's tone was self-righteous to the point of sabotage. ("Lupe Fiasco mansplains misogyny on counterproductive" single, read Spin magazine's headline.)
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | August 26, 2013
Fifteen-year-old Deshaun Jones had spent much of the summer hanging out in the neighborhood where he died last weekend, gunned down as he sat on a porch just before his first day at Frederick Douglass High School. The teen was among seven people shot in a single incident Saturday in Franklin Square. On Monday, when he was to have begun his freshman year, red, white and blue balloons were left at the shooting scene, along with a stuffed toy animal. The other victims — all adults — are expected to survive.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case and Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | April 25, 2013
The Grammy-nominated rapper 2 Chainz, who received a drug citation during a traffic stop in Talbot County in February, was found not guilty. The rapper, whose legal name is Tauheed Epps, was found not guilty of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges, online court records show. His attorney did not respond Thursday for a call for comment. Epps tweeted on Wednesday, “Boxing gloves I beat the trial.” After the February stop, he Tweeted a photo of himself with two officers, prompting state police to review the incident.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | February 23, 2013
UPDATE (Feb. 23, 4:42 p.m.): Terrel Dishon Taylor, aka Smash, was discovered dead due to congestive heart failure in his Baltimore home 5:30 p.m. Friday, according to a family press release. Funeral arrangements are not yet set, but there will be a vigil on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at City of Gods (1118 Hollins St.) from 6-10 p.m. Donations to the family can be mailed to 8420 Governance Bradford Lane, Ellicott City, Md. 21043. ------------- Baltimore rapper Smash, born Terrel Taylor and also known as T-Mac, died Friday due to heart failure, according to his aunt, Arlette Thomas-Fletcher and long-time manager Swen Brock.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | July 9, 2013
Baltimore County police have charged a Baltimore woman and her rapper husband in the stabbing death of a man at the Halethorpe bar where he performed Saturday night. Shelbie Mech, 31, and Michael Singer, 35, also known as the rapper "Blizz," were arrested Monday in the death of 22-year-old John Bowman early Sunday at the Fish Head Cantina. Mech, of the South Baltimore neighborhood of Brooklyn, is charged with first-degree murder, and Singer was charged as an accessory after the fact.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | June 21, 2013
When "XXL" revealed the cover of its March "Freshman Class" issue - the hip-hop magazine's annual anointment of rising rappers most poised for major success - there was a fresh-faced, parka-wearing kid in the bottom-right corner, throwing a peace sign as a couple of gold chains hung from his neck. It was Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, better known as Logic, a 23-year-old rapper born and raised in Gaithersburg. Less than a month after the "XXL" cover was announced, Logic, who headlines the Fillmore Silver Spring on Sunday, signed to Def Jam Recordings, a label that has been synonymous with hip-hop prestige since producer Rick Rubin founded it in 1983.
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